Equinox Publishing > Books > Book Details

Understanding Cypriote Cult
Potnios Theron and the Search for a Principal Male Divinity in Iron Age Cyprus
(Volume 15)

Derek B. Counts

Series: Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology

Hardback Price

This monograph explores the intersection of iconography, religion, and cultural identity during the period of the city-kingdoms of Cyprus and after their dissolution (ca. 800-100 BCE). The material remains of Cypriote religion represent an especially conspicuous witness to the longue durée of cultural exchanges in the eastern Mediterranean. Votive sculptures displaying foreign iconography (e.g., Greek, Phoenician, Egyptian, etc.) and multi-lingual dedicatory inscriptions betray the intense movement of artistic and religious symbolism. Perhaps not surprisingly, current scholarship dealing with divine representations found in Cypriote sanctuaries inevitably focuses on identifiable Greek, Near Eastern, or Egyptian artistic elements (e.g., dress and attributes). Based on the wide range of iconography and types, foreign influences have been marshaled as a means of exposing the ‘ethnic origins’ of the divinity or even the donor; divine images are thus identified based on their relationship to similar images found abroad. Cypriote sanctuaries are reconstructed as repositories for a pantheon of foreign divinities imported from Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, without regard for their Cypriote context or meaning. The result is a rather static conception of the relationship between iconography, meaning, and identity. Little attention has been paid to the religious continuity and artistic koine expressed by these images; likewise, the significance of regional variations, the island’s own political topography, and the potential links between elite power, cult and community during the periods in questions has been largely ignored.

Understanding Cypriote Cult calls for a new direction in the study of Cypriote religion—particularly in the case of male divinities—based on the critical framework of postcolonial theory. In particular, postcolonial concepts such as Third Space and hybridity provide more nuanced mechanisms for interpreting Cypriote material culture in the face of successive episodes of cultural contact and clash with foreigners. This monograph represents the first attempt to foreground the productive capacity of these cultural entanglements in the formation of Cypriote religious iconography The author offers a new reading of the multi-vocal iconography present in Cypriote sanctuaries and argues that male divine images represent hybrid forms that reveal the creation of a new divine persona (the Potnios Theron, or master of animals) through the recombination and recomposition of existing referential modes—at once recognizable, yet equally incommensurable. It was through the agency of cult that existing cultural boundaries began to be blurred.

1. Introduction: Votive Religion at the Crossroads: Prolegomena to the Study of Cult in Cyprus
2. The Prehistoric Shadow of the Potnios Theron
3. The Master of the Lion
4. The Master of the Ram
5. The Master of the Goat
6. Lesser Potnioi
7. Potnia Theron
8. The God Inscribed? Apollo and Cypriote Epigraphy
9. The God Incarnate? Ritual Transformation and Theriomorphism in Cypriote Cult
10. Conclusion: Borderless Kingdoms: Cult, Iconography, and Identity in Iron Age Cyprus

ISBN-10 (Hardback)1845532465
ISBN-13 (Hardback)9781845532468
Price (Hardback)£70.00/$110.00
Publication DateOctober 2015
Size244 x169mm
Illustrations50 b & w illustrations and 6 maps
Book StatusNot yet published

Equinox Publishing
Search All Books

 Recently Published Books
View the latest titles
 Forthcoming Books
View all forthcoming books from Equinox Publishing.

 Browse by Series
Click here to view a list of all Equinox Series

 Browse by Subject
Ancient History
Biblical Studies
Buddhist Studies
Cognitive Studies
Cultural History
Food History and Cookery
Gender Studies
Healthcare Communication
Islamic Studies
Popular Music
Religious Studies
Writing and Composition

 Publish with Us

Click for here for details on how to publish with us